COACH FORUM: Assessments: FTP Bike and Run questions

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44 comments

  • Lonniecadams

    Matthew, could you please clarify for me your statement about the ramp test being a "more accurately depicts," statement.  I would love to hear more about this, you can just send me the research papers/data that you have and I can go through it so you don't have to fully explain, I just want to understand and learn more.  Coggins and others have made the statement about what type of muscle fiber/energy system you have impacts the ramp test or the 20 minute test or the Sufferfest Full Frontal Test among any test.  What test does PPF plan to use in the "retest in 10 weeks at the earliest."  Finally, could you shed some light on how testing FTP inside CAN give you different numbers than testing outside, and should we be testing in the environment we will be racing in.  

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  • David Shinn

    Is there anything wrong with deriving the bike threshold HR by later this week after a warmup, simply put trainer fixed at ftp W as determined from the ramp test and ride for 20 minutes. Take the avg HR from the last 10 minutes. Would that be a reasonable way of getting bike threshold Hr without doing the 20 min traditional test?

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  • Elizabeth Maclean

    If the Ramp test more accurately depicts one's threshold power and therefore proper application of applied intensity during training, what does the 20 min FTP test more accurately depict? We were given the choice of doing either, but why if they don't necessarily give the same results or apply to training the same way? This was the first time I'd done a ramp FTP test and my results were much higher than my previous 20 min FTP tests (opposite of what you said one would expect). I'm struggling now to understand what my past 20 min FTP tests were really telling me.

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  • Alex Fuller

    Woah woah woah - so your FTP doesn't measure your complete worth as an athlete (or human being)?!

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  • matthew hurley

    Lonnie,

    The ramp test is based on maximum ( 1 min) aerobic power. We have found as an industry  (British cycling, Canada cycling, and platforms. such asTrainer road,Zwift ) more and more lean into the ramp test a better correlation to threshold than the standard FTP test. We have found that we agree when comparing lab testing of our athletes to the 20 min test Vs ramp test. We find a greater variation with the 20 min test, this is usually because of the anaerobic contribution that comes into play. In a 20 min test. Most athletes can "cheat" the test if they have a greater contribution from anaerobic metabolism than aerobic. This distorts your true threshold as being higher than it likely is, because of this anaerobic contribution. This is also where muscle fiber type comes into play. More type 2 fibers, greater anaerobic contribution etc- more able to rig the test. Maybe you've heard you should be able to ride a 70.3 at 80-85% of your FTP. Many of use can't even come close, and this is why. As an event progresses ( anything beyond 5 mins) there are less and less anaerobic contributions.

    I'll highlight what threshold is: Steady-state lacate in the blood, measured, the point at which lactate combustion=lactate production ~ at or around 4mml- This correlates to 1 hour maximal sustained pace/power on the bike or run. Or the rate at which you could sustain an activity for 1 hour.  That is the where the science has landed, this is called L2/VT2 if you were to do lab-based testing. 

    The 20 min test was born out of an approximation to allow athletes to do 20 mins best effort and than take a multiple (.95%), trying to give athletes a "threshold" without going to a lab, or doing a full one hour of power all out. 

    The ramp test is also an approximation of this Steady-state lactate - Both ultimately are shorthand approximations that allow athletes to measure we think lab testing would determine Threshold to be. Ultimately we think the ramp test does a better job of this approximation and allows for a better prescription for appropriate intensity.

    We come back to this point again and again. It's simply a measure against itself. A benchmark to help guide training intensity, but less useful as a measuring stick of progress. The reason why we do it is that without it, we'd have either no ability to have a common language for intensity and zones, or we'd need every athlete to do physiological testing.

    This brings me to last point: Outside v inside. We see variation both ways. Some athletes execute better outdoors, some indoor.

    Whatever test you do, it might be a 20 min, or a ramp. They both do the job. ( we think the Ramp is a bit better, but we allowed both as options because they both are acceptable) Execute in the same environment, outside, or inside with temperature the same. etc. Whenever we test we ask athletes to perform in optimum conditions. Fan, good cooling, well. rested, hydrated, fueled etc. Keep as many variable constant as possible. I hope this helps!

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  • Lonniecadams

    Atfuller, no it doesn't but it does allow you to have complete consciousness on your deathbed.  The only other way I have seen this is to caddy for the Dalai Lama, and I am not sure he is still golfing after having Bill Murray as his caddy.

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  • matthew hurley

    David,

    No issues there. You can pull that- I would look for that point at which HR plateaus and stabilizes. I also like to compare: an Olympic distance race and look for HR trends there, usually that HR is just under threshold.

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  • Lonniecadams

    Matthew, that is an awesome explanation and much appreciated!  This provides a lot of clarification into the two tests and reasoning behind one and the other.  Just like any assessment any given day will give you any given result.  I think you guys at PPF do a great job of focusing on the journey and consistency and that this is just one small tiny pebble in the brick wall we try to build.  Thanks again!

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  • matthew hurley

    Art,

    Certainly not, sadly not even the best measure of performance predictability for long course triathlon, but it's the best we can do with out the lab!

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  • Deborah Haight

    My assessment was shit, Matt! Maybe you saw my post. But my HR was z3/4 during warmup and I felt terrible. I want to do it again! How soon can I test again?

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  • Lizgpaton

    Matt, hello and good to meet you. I did my run test today but had confused messages whether the last 10 mins I should have gone really hard which I did. When I read again your instructions it said to go at pace you can sustain one hour. Can you clarify. Liz

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  • matthew hurley

    Elizabeth,

    We see this often with 20 min tests and usually attributed to incorrect execution or pacing. We see this from our pros down to AG. There are many variables to consider beyond that, but without seeing you test, knowing you intimately as an athlete that's impossible for me to tell. You'd also need to do a 20 min test NOW to compare to your ramp test as it's possible you are now more fit than when you previously did your 20 min tests. 

    I would take confidence in this. Your FTP just went up. So maybe you're just more fit, or maybe this test suits you better. Adjust accordingly and see how the sessions feel.

    Your 20 min tests told you this: Your best 20 min effort. That is all, and that's all you can really compare it to. I know that's pedantic but it's true. The reason these tests have some correlation is that they give a good total picture of an athletes capabilities in terms of aerobic ( v02max) and anaerobic ( glycolytic capacity) . What they don't tell us is how that power is composed, which is really the interesting part.

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  • David Shinn

    Matt,

    The olympic distance comparison is great.  Back in June 2019 olympic distance triathon, avg HR for 1:23 bike split (40K) was 161/bpm, but avg over peak 1hr HR was 164/bpm.  0.95 of peak 20 min HR during Zwift race in Feb was 165/bpm.

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  • Lizgpaton

    Matt, hello and good to meet you. I did my run test today but had confused messages whether the last 10 mins I should have gone really hard which I did. When I read again your instructions it said to go at pace you can sustain one hour. Can you clarify. Liz

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  • matthew hurley

    Deb,

    Kevin will punish you appropriately if needed! 

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  • matthew hurley

    Liz,

    Likewise!

    Very hard, think 9/10. Right on the tipping point, but yes it should be sustainable. 

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  • Lizgpaton

    Ah maybe I pushed a bit too hard then perhaps I will revise my figures down slightly.

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  • Victor Perez

    My power indoor is way lower than outside, almost 20%. I have a huge fan and I keep the room cool, so heat shouldn't be the issue. Anyone else find IMPOSSIBLE to ride indoors at the same power as outdoors? I left this comment here because this FTP test is only valid in my case for indoor workouts

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  • Mark Creamer

    So from a Today's Plan perspective I want to make sure I'm inputting the right data. 

    For the run test we grab the average pace and average HR from the last 10 min of the 20 min test. So for today's plan:

    • We put the average pace average pace into the threshold pace with a multiplier of 1 (right?)
    • We put the average HR into the threshold HR

    For bike if we do the ramp test it will tell us an FTP at the end based on our best 1 minute of work. So for today's plan:

    • We put the FTP value into the threshold power value, do we keep the 0.95 multipler?
    • For threshold HR, do we take the "Thres HR" value from the post workout analysis?
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  • Scott Layton

    Victor

    You have brought up an important point.  Indoor and outdoor power are going to be different.  Like any testing, once you start change variables results begin to change.  Outdoor riding has many more variables than indoors and can change day to day depending on route and weather.  Using the results of your FTP assessment done on your trainer are great for calibrating workouts on your indoor trainer.  Outdoors, metrics like RPE and heart zones are much more applicable.  You can potentially use your FTP when ride flat rides with no wind in optimal temps.  Once you add in punchy hills the FTP metric is out the door.  

    I hope this answers your question.  Please let me know if you would like additional information.

     

    Scott, PPF Coach

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  • Darren Hamman

    Hi Matt, done the ramp test of Zwift any my FTP is calculated was 245. About 2 months ago I done a 20min FTP test and my FTP was 263. Which one should I go with as I felt pretty comfortable training with an FTP of 263, worried if I drop to a 245 the workouts would be to easy. I am an Ironman Distance athlete for the past 7 years if that helps any.

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  • Scott Layton

    Mark,

     

    That all looks correct, except with the Ramp Test it is times 0.75.

     

    Scott, PPF Coach

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  • Kevin Collington

    Darren Hamman I would say give 245w a try as your FTP for this block. Yes, your workouts will feel easier over the next 8 to 10 weeks before we test again, but that could be a good thing as classic FTP testing (95% of 20 min best power) can lead to overtraining day in and day out. Ultimately we've seen athletes plateau using the classic FTP simply because they were going too hard on a daily basis and not fully recovering. The "why" behind this is that the classic FTP test didn't take into account a lot of metabolic factors that the ramp FTP test does take into account once we run the numbers.

    I recommend reading Matt Hurley's answer to Lonnie above, but I'll pull out my favorite part and past here:

    In a 20 min test. Most athletes can "cheat" the test if they have a greater contribution from anaerobic metabolism than aerobic. This distorts your true threshold as being higher than it likely is, because of this anaerobic contribution. This is also where muscle fiber type comes into play. More type 2 fibers, greater anaerobic contribution etc- more able to rig the test.

    A side note - there is also a trend on this thread of "indoor vs. outdoor" power. Some athletes thrive indoors and produce more power than outside. Others are the opposite. So take into account which type of athlete you are. Ultimately if you got 245w on an indoor trainer and you plan to do most of your training indoors - then yes, use 245w. It shouldn't be a measure of athlete self-worth, but rather a number that helps drive proper training over the coming block.

     

    -Kevin, PPF coach

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  • Jefflipschultz

    I don't see a multiplier in the Power Setting for Bike.  Just Threshold, Threshold Calculation (N/A) and Data Integrity (Do nothing).  I have Enable PI checked.

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  • Kevin Collington

    Jefflipschultz Is this in Today's Plan or Zwift?

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  • Jefflipschultz

    Today's Plan.  This is in reference to Mark Creamer's Question (and Scott's answer).

    Thanks,

    J

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  • Kevin Collington

    Jefflipschultz Mark Creamer

    For Today's Plan, just enter the FTP that Zwift gave you as your FTP threshold power. No multiplier on that number.

     

    Longer answer: Zwift did use a multiplier (of sorts) to get that number for you from your ramp test. As coach Scott said the multiplier is about 0.75 of your Maximal Aerobic Power (mentioned by coach Hurley's answer to Lonnie above). The Maximal Aerobic Power (MAP) is the highest one minute power you held throughout the ramp test. But Zwift already did the multiplication for you.

    For example, here is the calculation for one of my athletes:

    MAP from the test - 345w

    345 * 0.75 = 259w

    Zwift gave him an FTP of 261, so it was actually a multiplier of 0.756, but close enough :)

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  • Jefflipschultz

    That makes sense.  As I had similar results.  Thank you.

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  • Juanma Teixidó

    Lactate Threshold Lab Test vs. Running Threshold Assesment

    About 4 weeks ago I did a LT Lab test, in which the result was 160 BPM as my LT threshold. FWIW the protocol was different–it included a ramp up test on a treadmill and lactate measurements at specified intervals. Yesterday after doing my Running Threshold Assessment my last 10 minute Heart rate averaged 176 BPM @ 4:40/km pace.

    The difference between the two in terms of my zones are abismal. Any of the PPF coaches would like to chime in on which of the two I should use?

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  • Andy Gesellmann

    Hey coaches,

    I did the Zwift FTP Ramp Test a few weeks ago - It came up with an FTP of 265. 

    Today I did a Zwift race that took a little over 20 min - so kind of a 20 min FTP Test - My output there was 266 Watts over 20min. 

    So almost the same as the Ramp up Test 

    From what I read in this thread, going ahead with the Zwift ramp up results I would set my Threshold to 265 in Today's plan whereas if I use the data from today's 20 min race, it would give me an FTP of (265 x 0.95) ~252. 

    Would you suggest to go with the lower FTP for the next block of training?

     

     

     

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